Aquascaping: sand, gravel or soil – which is best?

Aquarists wanting to aquascape will need to rethink their substrate: sand or gravel are only suitable for decorative purposes, when no plants are to be put in. Instead so-called soils are used for strong and effective plant growth. Before the soil is put in, a foundation of lava granulate ( JBL ProScape minéral Volcano ) is formed. This becomes firmly interlocked due to its porous surface structure and so forms a stable basis for larger rock constructions and wooden roots. If the proscaper tried to add these without a foundation and put the stones and roots directly onto the soil, they would slip through the soft soil to the bottom glass. The highly porous lava rock also helps loosen the soil and ensures the ideal circulation of water and nutrients.

Almost every aquascaper swears by soil, and there’s a good reason for this: unlike sand or gravel, soil is packed full with nutrients. It is this high nutrient content which promotes the desired strong plant growth, even with very demanding aquarium plants, such as lawn builders. However, we have to mention here that soil requires a further care measure: For the first 7 days a daily partial water change up to 80% has to be carried out. The main reason for this is the possible release of ammonium (NH4) into the water.

JBL ProScape Soils have merited extra praise from leading aquascapers because they keep their firm consistence and don’t become soft (muddy). This is a result of a unique double soil burning process.

To offer shrimp enthusiasts a choice of soils as well, JBL has developed two soil ranges: The JBL ProScape PlantSoil ( JBL ProScape PlantSoil BROWN & JBL ProScape PlantSoil BEIGE ) which, as we described above, is filled with micro and macronutrients, and a second range: the JBL ProScape ShrimpSoil ( JBL ProScape ShrimpsSoil BROWN & JBL ProScape ShrimpsSoil BEIGE ) which are identical to the PlantSoil articles but which are NOT enhanced. This way the shrimp enthusiasts have all advantages of the burned soil for their plants but not the additional fertilisation needed for pure aquascaping aquariums.

Another decisive advantage of all JBL soils is their softening effect on the water. Plants and also shrimps (and many fish species) prefer slightly acidic and soft waters. The JBL ProScape Soil range reduces the GH (general hardness) as well as the KH (carbonate hardness) and slightly acidifies the aquarium water. This creates a perfect aquatic environment for the animals and plants.

DRY OR WET

You have surely already noticed that the ground looks darker wet than dry. And this also applies to aquarium substrates such as the JBL ProScape Soil. In the picture you can clearly see that the beautiful brown colour only shows up when the soil is wet. So don’t worry if the dry substrates in the packet do not yet show up their true colours.

How much soil do you need for your aquarium?

With the help of this soil calculator you can find out immediately what quantities of soil you need. Just enter into the calculator the exact measurements of your aquarium and your desired layer thickness and you will receive the result in litres.

To the ProScape Calculateur de substrat

© 15.08.2016
Matthias Wiesensee
Matthias Wiesensee
M.Sc. Wirtschaftsinformatik
JBL GmbH & Co. KG

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